A female staff member at the Minnesota Security Hospital suffered seizures after being attacked by a juvenile patient.
FOX 9 reports that the attack happened Monday evening in the mental illness division at the secure hospital in St. Peter.
The public workers' union told BringMeTheNews that a female security counselor had her head repeatedly bashed into a brick wall by the patient, who is 16 or 17 years old. The patient then kicked her in the head while she lay convulsing on the ground.
The woman was one of three security counselors who had attempted to calm down the patient – who is said to have violent tendencies and extremely low IQ – after he had spent the previous two hours "raising hell" in the unit with other patients, the union said.
They escorted him to a courtyard in an attempt to protect other patients, which is where the assault took place.
The staff member suffered seizures following the attack and was taken to a local hospital. The union didn't have an update on her condition on Tuesday.
Authorities are investigating
The incident is being investigated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and St. Peter police, according to FOX 9.
"We remain committed to a safe and secure treatment environment for employees as well as patients and will carefully review this incident to determine how situations like this can be prevented in the future." DHS forensic treatment services executive director Carol Olson told the news station.
The patient is still being held at Minnesota Security Hospital under constant supervision by two security counselors, with the union saying local police stations were unable to take him either because of his age or because of his reduced mental faculties.
On its Facebook page, "Safe Staffing," the AFSCME says Minnesota Security Hospital needs $10.4 million investment for more staff and other safety measures to protect patients.
The safety of Minnesota's health workers has been a burning issue over the past several months, particularly following an attack on four nurses by a patient wielding a metal rod at St. John's Hospital in November.
Around that time, the Minnesota Office of Health and Safety Administration told MPR News that workplace injury claims for assaults and violent acts at state hospitals have increased since 2012.
The Minnesota Security Hospital is a secure treatment facility in St. Peter that serves people who have been committed by the court as mentally ill and dangerous.